Name:   Astatotilapia aeneocolor  (Greenwood, 1973)

Synonym:    Haplochromis aeneocolor

Common name:    Yellow Belly Albert,  Large-Mouth Albert

Location:    Lake George and the Kazinga Channel (possibly Lake Edward)

Adult size:    males: 5 inches (12 cm),   Females: 3.5 inches (8 cm)

Diet:    detritus and phytoplankton

Astatotilapia aeneocolor are not found in Lake Victoria itself.  They originate from the satellite lakes in the Victorian basin north of Lake Tanganyika.  Although the common name is the "Yellow Belly Albert", they might not exist in Lake Albert at all.


Personal notes:  I purchased six aeneocolor (2M:4F) from the local aquarium store in 2003 and placed them in a 40 gallon long tank.  One male was larger than the other male and both males were significantly larger than any of the females.  My aeneocolor males were extremely aggressive towards each other.  The males would face each other and flare their gills (much like the firemouth) and extend their fins and dance around each other.  Then they would lock their mouths and shake.  I removed the smaller sub-dominant male, as I don't believe he would have survived.  This cichlid has a rather large mouth and he used this large mouth to remove all the gravel from under a large flat rock.  This created the cave he called home.

My aeneocolor bred constantly ( aeneocolor spawning ).  I was lucky enough to witness the spawning once on top of the same flat rock that the male called home.  I can't remember any point in time when at least one of the four females wasn't holding.  The females aggressively defended their newborns using the same gill flaring maneuver that the male employs.

This is a truly odd fish.  They are not very active at all making picture taking easier than any Victorian species I've ever kept.  All four females generally hover together in a tight knit group usually facing the same direction and barely moving.  My dominant male grew to about 5 inches (12.5 cm) and the females all grew to around 2 1/2 inches (7 cm).  The aeneocolor did well with some Pundamilia nyererei for the short time they were housed together (although this is not really a good lomg term mix due to the posibility of cross-breeding).  However, they fared very poorly with some overly aggressive Tropheops sp. "Chilumba".

Above is my dominant male Haplochromis (Astatotilapia) aeneocolor.

A female aeneocolor above

Above left is a juvenile male                                  and to the right is a slightly older male.

Above left they are spawning.  Above right is a young male surrounded by 3 females.  Note the bottom-most of the 3 females is holding.

Above left is a female holding fry                               Above right is a female with fry

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see also:

Hill Country Cichlid Club